Animal Welfare, Vegans and Vivisection
Animal Welfare - Morally Acceptable for Humans
Animal welfare refers to the viewpoint that it is morally acceptable for humans to use nonhuman animals in certain ways-for example, as food-so long as unnecessary suffering is avoided. This is contrasted with the animal rights position, which holds that other animals should not be used by humans, and should not be regarded as their property.
Systematic concern for the well-being of other animals probably arose in the Indus Valley Civilization as the religious ancestors return in animal form, and that animals must therefore be killed with the respect due to a human. This belief is exemplified in the existing religion, Jainism, and in varieties of other Indian religions. Other religions, specially those with roots in the Abrahamic religions, treat animals as the property of their owners, codifying rules for their care and slaughter intended to limit the distress, pain and fear animals experience under human control.
The UK government commissioned an investigation into the welfare of intensively farmed animals from Professor Roger Brambell in 1965, partly in response to concerns raised in Ruth Harrison's 1964 book, Animal Machines. On the basis of Professor Brambell's report, the UK government set up the Farm Animal Welfare Advisory Committee in 1967, which became the Farm Animal Welfare Council in 1979. The committee's first guidelines recommended that animals require the freedoms to 'turn around, to groom themselves, to get up, to lie down and to stretch their limbs'. These have since been elaborated to become known as the Five Freedoms of animal welfare:
The five freedoms
Freedom from thirst and hunger
Freedom from discomfort
Freedom from pain, injury, and disease
Freedom to express normal behavior
Freedom from fear and distress
Veganism is a philosophy and lifestyle whose adherents seek to exclude the use of animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose. Vegans endeavor not to use or consume animal products of any kind. The most common reasons for becoming a vegan are human health, ethical commitment or moral conviction concerning animal rights or welfare, the environment, and spiritual or religious concerns.Of particular concern to many vegans are the practices involved in factory farming and animal testing, and the intensive use of land and other resources for animal farming.
Properly planned vegan diets are healthful and have been found to satisfy nutritional needs. Poorly planned vegan diets can be low in levels of calcium, iodine, vitamin B12, iron and vitamin D. Various polls have reported vegans to be between 0.2% and 1.3% of the U.S. population, and between 0.25% and 0.4% of the UK population.
Vivisection is defined as surgery conducted for experimental purposes on a living organism, typically animals with a central nervous system, to view living internal structure. The term is sometimes more broadly defined as any experimentation on live animals; see animal testing. The term is often used by organizations opposed to animal experimentation and is no longer used by practicing scientists.
Research requiring vivisection techniques that cannot be met through other means are often subject to an external ethics review in conception and implementation, and in many jurisdictions, use of anaesthesia is legally mandated for any surgery likely to cause pain to any vertebrate. In the U.S., the Animal Welfare Act explicitly requires that any procedure that may cause pain utilize "tranquilizers, analgesics, and anesthetics",with exceptions when "scientifically necessary". The Act does not define "scientific necessity" or regulate specific scientific procedures; instead, approval or rejection of individual techniques in each federally-funded lab is determined on a case-by-case basis by an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, which contains at least one veterinarian, one scientist, one non-scientist, and one individual from outside the university.